Terren Dick, U.S. Navy, 1999-2001

Terren Dick served on the USS Arctic, a supply ship.

Terren Dick is the daughter of Minnie Dalton and Jeff Williams.  Multiple people from her family served “in every branch” of the military, she said there was no better way to honor them to take after them and join the military.  Her great grandfather, Walter Williams was in the Navy and her grandfather, Franklin Shkane Williams was in the Army. 

Ms. Dick was assigned to the USNS Arctic (T-AOE-8), formerly USS Arctic (AOE-8), the third ship in the Supply class of fast combat support ships and the fifth supply ship to carry the name of the region surrounding the North Pole. She said during her first days in Boot camp she experienced culture shock and noticed “nobody there who looked like me.”  Ms. Dick said she was scared and excited at the same time and it was a “whole new world”.  As hard as it was- there were people who were afraid to speak up and ask for things- Ms. Dick was not shy about asking for things, like water so she would not dehydrate.  Her favorite time during boot camp was “battle stations” where she had to learn about emergency situations like the ship on fire, or tying the boat to an anchor.  She got asked some silly questions about coming from Alaska; sometimes she used to tell her a gullible shipmate that “I lived in a two story igloo.  My family was wealthy!”

She felt like she did not experience racism in the Navy, nor in Hoonah, but she did while growing up in Juneau.

The Navy took her many places and she spent a good deal of time floating around in the Atlantic Ocean   Ms. Dick also visited Norfolk, Virginia, St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, and the unincorporated U.S. territory Puerto Rico.  She remembers being amazed at seeing an avocado “as big as a football” in Puerto Rico. 

Ms. Dick’s favorite memory was when she got to drive the Arctic at night during a thunder and lightning storm on the Atlantic Ocean.  “Lightning was coming down right in front of me… being from Alaska, I’d never really seen a thunderstorm before.”

She said the people she worked with were “pretty chill… everybody liked everybody”.  Being on the ship was fine, but it could get tedious.  “We could only play cards so many times…” Sitting outside she could enjoy the view unless the waves were too big, then they she would sit in the cafeteria and watch TV, play videos or... play more cards. 

Ms. Dick said she liked everybody on the Arctic.  “It’s kind of like living with your brothers and sisters, you know, fighting over stupid stuff because you are stuck together for so long.  But I think we got along pretty well, considering there were about 500 people on my ship...  If I could do it all over again I would… up until that time it was the best time of my life.” 

She was sad to leave the Navy because she enjoyed it so much, but she just couldn’t see raising a child alone in the military as a single mother.  She flew back to Juneau and lived with her father and mother-in-law, working at the Zack Gordon Youth Center until her son graduated the 8th grade.  Ms. Dick then moved to Harrison, Ohio near Cincinnati. 

What she liked most about her service was that it was “my own experience.  It was something I had always dreamed of growing up and I was able to accomplish it. It made me proud of myself that I could serve my country; it was always something I had dreamt of doing.”


Terren Dick